South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa, is a country located at the southern tip of Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and by the Indian Ocean on the south and east. Its neighbors are Namibia in the northwest, Zimbabwe and Botswana in the north, and Mozambique and Swaziland in the northeast.
South Africa's original inhabitants were the San (or Bushmen), Khoekhoe and Xhosa peoples, with Blacks arriving around 2,000 years ago. Seeking a route to India, the Portuguese navigator and explorer, Bartolomeu Dias, led the first European expedition to round the Cape of Good Hope in 1488.
Three main, interrelated forces influence the nature of South African society and economy: colonial conquest, the expansion of mining, and the actions ─ also known as “agency” ─ of individuals. Colonolisation followed 164 years later with the arrival of Jan van Riebeek in 1652 under orders of the Dutch-East India Company to establish a refreshment station at the Cape of Good Hope, become Cape Town. Even though they did not want to colonize the area, they were short of local labor and therefore allowed some of the Dutch nationals to settle there and work as laborers when required. There were not only Dutch nationals but also Scandinavian and German nationals. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) went on to import from Madagascar and Indonesia a large numbers of slaves. The production pressure on the Cape settlement soon forced the Dutch East India Company to free employees from their contracts to become independent farmers, the so-called first free burghers. So many people working under the company led to many clashes with the local Khoikhoi population. Unfortunately the insatiable appetite of the Dutch newcomers led to the depopulation of the local people through the disease and war. Started by the Dutch the system to manage the local population that was leftover was no better than slavery.
By the late 1700s,...